Saturday, April 9, 2011

21st Andy Mercer Memorial

I apologize for being a little slow to press on this one, but the 21st Annual Andy Mercer 9-ball tournament was a couple weeks ago (Mar 25th-27th) and I've got some video that I'm finally getting around to uploading.

Why the delay? I'm glad you asked because it's a perfect lead-in to a brief rant about a total pile of crap video package - Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD. I bought it on a bit of a whim last fall thinking it'd help me with another video I was working on at the time. I've used other video packages over the years (Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects and Ulead (now Corel) Video Studio) and were generally happy with them... but this one was sitting there on the shelf at Best Buy, was inexpensive, and I recalled hearing a couple decent things about it so I grabbed it.

Worst software purchase in a long time. Maybe ever.

The things I tried to do with it should have been pretty darn simple. Import a video, drop it on the timeline, do a little minor editing, size it and format it for YouTube. Render. But nooOOOoOoooo... the brilliant Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD developers didn't think we wanted to hear the audio recorded by the camera by default (even though it shows an audio track being dragged to the timeline). Or maybe they couldn't figure out how to read the audio format from my camera or something. Either way, I don't care. I read the help file a bit. It said I might benefit from a separate audio editor and suggested another Sony package that magically integrates with this POS video package. F-that.

It also suggested some other audio editors that might work, some of which were downloadable, so I went that route with a freebie that I've used before. Even with the audio editor, it was a painful experience. I had to chop several segments out of my interview in order to get the time down to the 15 minute YouTube limit and somewhere along the line, this POS video package lost sync between video and audio so it looked like I was watching an old-school Godzilla flick. I was pissed beyond belief and rapidly running out of time against a hard PoolSynergy deadline.

Fast forward to last weekend. I had these videos on my camera, and knew I needed to get them posted. I was bored. I couldn't see very well due to recent LASIK. Trying to think of things I could do to be halfway productive while still halfway blind, I decided to try working through the step of chopping up the videos into YouTube-sized chunks. I mistakenly assumed the settings from the previous editing session of the interview would still be intact and I'd actually have audio included with my video. I rolled through all seven video segments (several hours of rendering time). Fail. They rendered without audio again. And my vision was bad enough that there was no frigging way I felt like digging through the help files to figure out how to fix it again. Fool me twice, F.U.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD is no longer on my computer or in my life.

Last night and today I did what I needed to do with relative ease using Windows Live Movie Maker (free).

On to the Andy Mercer tourney. This is an annual tournament here in Las Vegas intended for "A" players. I don't know off the top of my head what the precise definition of an "A" player is, but I know I'm not there yet... so this is a tournament I watch for now. There's a similar tournament for "B" players at the Rum Runner on the previous weekend - the Doc Hill memorial. I considered entering that one, but had other obligations this year. I plan to enter next year.

The field is limited to 64. Format is: 9-ball, full double elimination, unhandicapped, winner break, rack your own, race to six. The purse in this tournament is sizable, with $6,000 going to the winner this year.

The above frame grab from my video shows synchronized final four shooting by the father-son dynamic Dominguez duo... Oscar on the near table and his father Ernesto on the far table. Ernesto won the Andy Mercer in 2010. There was at least one other father-son duo in the tournament: Emroy and Ray Skenandore.

Anyway, on to the videos. First up is the hot seat match between Oscar Dominguez and Shane Van Boening that was already in progress by the time I got my domestic kid duties done and made my way over to the Rum Runner:

Second video is part two of the hot seat match. In the last game of the match, SVB gave Oscar not one... but the last three balls! Quite the touch of class and show of respect for Oscar if you ask me (or maybe SVB just wanted to get back to the practice table sooner than later). Either way, I thought it was cool.

Video three shows Shane Van Boening practicing on the near table while Ernesto Dominguez and Walter Glass play on the far table.

With video #4, we're down to a single table featuring Ernesto Dominguez duking it out with Shane Van Boening to see who earns the right to take on Oscar Dominguez in the final.

One of the more under-appreciated shots of the tournament (in my opinion, anyways) happens at 10:30. Ernesto sinks the 2-ball and draws the cue ball more than the length of the table off of the head rail and side rail to get perfect shape on the next ball (the 3-ball I think?).

Surprisingly, the very knowledgeable audience barely blinked. You can hear a single person clap, but that was about it. Yet of all the shots I saw at this tournament, this is the one that stood out to me as one I simply can't do at this point in time. I can do banks, kicks, jumps... sure, not as accurately or consistently as these guys do (or I'd be on the other side of the camera) but I can do them. I have a pretty darn deadly curve shot. I can draw that far... even farther. In fact, I've drawn two table lengths before (to scratch in the corner pocket, unfortunately... sigh).

But I doubt I'll be drawing that far left-handed as he did anytime soon. I bow to Ernesto for that one.

Video #5... part two of Ernesto vs. SVB.

Video #6... part three of Ernesto vs. SVB..

Video #7 is unfortunately a short one because the battery on my camera died... but it's the first few minutes of the first set of the finals - Oscar Dominguez vs. Shane Van Boening.

So there you have it... another year in the books. Shane Van Boening took first, Oscar Dominguez second, Ernesto Dominguez third, and Walter Glass fourth.

Full results can be found here.

Additional coverage of the 2011 Andy Mercer can be found here and here.

1 comment:

  1. First things first...


    Sorry, just had to get that out. Now, on to more positive things...

    I think it's great that you've captured all this action. I couldn't make it to the tournament, but now I can watch via Garyvision. Whaahoooo! Thanks Buddy! Very cool picture of the Dominguez pair..both really great guys. A class act!